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Safe water and adequate sanitation to be provided with funds

Beirut, 5 Nov. 2014 – The Government of Japan has contributed $500,000 to the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) emergency response to the Syrian refugee children and women and Lebanese, most marginalized communities.

“Water and Sanitation is one of our top priorities to assist Lebanon. Access to clean drinking water and sanitation is crucial for the safety and health of the people, particularly for children and women.” stated H.E. Mr. Seiichi Otsuka, the Japanese Ambassador to Lebanon. “UNICEF and its partner organizations have worked hard to improve clean water and sanitation facilities, but still more supports are needed. Japan continues to assist the provision of necessary facilities for the vulnerable,”

During the duration of the project, thousands of women and children under-5 in the most vulnerable municipalities in Lebanon’s North Bekaa valley will benefit from improved access to safe water, rehabilitation of water systems and basic water and sanitation emergency supplies.

“With the approach of the winter season and the continued influx of refugees into Lebanon it is urgent that we meet their basic needs as quickly as possible”, said Ms. Annamaria Laurini, UNICEF Representative in Lebanon. “We are very grateful to the people of Japan. Their generous donation will help us ensure that the most vulnerable children are spared from waterborne diseases and are provided with the essential water and sanitation services that will guarantee them a chance to grow up in good health.”

Through the provision of safe water, construction of latrines, provision of household filters to vulnerable refugee and host families and intensive hygiene promotion sessions the likelihood of water-related diseases will be mitigated amongst the refugee and host communities.

UNICEF in coordination with the Ministry of Energy and Water, local water authorities and municipalities most affected by the Syrian crisis will select priority WASH projects for immediate delivery to reduce the strain on local communities.

According to UNHCR, Lebanon is currently the country with the world’s highest concentration of refugees compared to its total population, hosting more than 1.1 million registered refugees, with more than half of which are children under 18. This large influx of refugees has put an immense strain on Lebanon’s water and sanitation infrastructure, which was already stressed prior to the Syria crisis.

For more information, please contact:

UNICEF:

Soha Boustani, Chief of Communications, tel: +961 3 236 167, email: sboustani@unicef.org

Salam Abdulmunem, Communications Specialist, tel: +961 7 996 605, email: sabdulmunem@unicef.org

Embassy of Japan:

Political Section, tel: +961 1 989 751 (ext. 202)

Economic/Economic Cooperation Section, tel: +961 1 989 751 (ext.203)

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